Friday, 24 September 2021

Pop stars give insight into creative process

POP stars Martyn Ware and Sandie Shaw visited the Henley Business School to talk about creativity.

POP stars Martyn Ware and Sandie Shaw visited the Henley Business School to talk about creativity.

Ware, who founded Eighties electronic bands The Human League and Heaven 17, joined Sixties singer Shaw at a workshop called Finding Your Mojo.

The event was held at the school at Greenlands on Tuesday and was attended by more than 35 senior managers from a range of industries.

It looked at how creativity can benefit businesses and how companies can look after employees who come up with new ideas.

Ware and Shaw held a 45-minute question-and-answer session on their experiences as professional musicians.

They talked about the difficulties artists faced and suggested ways that creative people and managers can work together.

Both still work in the music industry. Ware, who co-wrote Heaven 17?s signature hit Temptation, is a record producer and has lectured the European Parliament on the importance of the arts.

Shaw, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967 with her single Puppet On A String, chairs the musicians? union the Featured Artists? Coalition.

In 2011, she toured with Jools Holland and played alongside him at the Henley Festival.

Ware said reality television contests were giving young people unrealistic expectations of fame and success as musicians.

He said: ?I loathe all that stuff. A daughter of a friend of mine was on the X Factor and it?s all manipulated behind the scenes, which I don?t think the average person on the street understands. There?s no real competition in it, which is very sad. I do a lot of lecturing for music colleges and a lot of young people seem to think it?s the main route into making a living from music. It?s really quite sad because it?s like buying a lottery ticket ? it isn?t going to happen.

?I always tell them they need hard work, originality, talent, persistence and confidence. If you have a giving nature you?ll want to entertain people and if you?re any good you?ll eventually get a break.

?I admire any artists who try to make a unique statement, from contemporary classical composers to some interesting new forms of pop like a lot of hip-hop. I like anyone who?s pushing the envelope.

?What I really dislike, on the other hand, is cookie-cutter stuff which is basically just a replication of something that?s just been successful, which is more or less how the X Factor operates. It?s just an extension of karaoke.?

Shaw said it was harder for artists to profit from their efforts because of the internet and musicians needed to be more business-like to succeed. She said: ?There is a distorted view about musicians and their lives. Very few of us can afford Elton John?s flower bill ? most are just ordinary people trying to make a living from something they love but at the moment it?s really hard.

?Everyone expects music to be free and yet they?re willing to pay for bottled water, which is ridiculous.

?I think artists have to be more realistic about what they?re worth and should be able to justify asking for huge sums in advance. You can?t just ask someone to take a risk on you.?

Shaw stressed the importance of creativity and gave the Olympics as an example.

?People get inspired by creative acts even if they?re not making it or performing it,? she said. ?They still feel like they?re part of it because they?re in the audience and enjoying it.?

The seminar was the second in a series of workshops called Creative Dynamics.

The next one will be held in July.

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